Magistrate’s court suspends hearing of case following High Court order

Defence lawyer Mwakhwawa (L) at the court

The Chief Resident Magistrate’s today stopped hearing of a K10 billion tax evasion case while a witness was testifying after the High Court in Blantyre granted the defence an injunction.

In the case, officials Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons are accused of evading tax estimated at K10 billion.

This afternoon, the state was expected to start parading witnesses.  Mapeto through its lawyers John Gift Mwakhwawa and Fostino Mayere asked the court for a 30-day adjournment in order to prepare for the case. The lawyers argued that the state served them with case documents 30 days later than ordered by the court.

Chief Resident Magistrate’s Jean Kayira dismissed the application.

Hearing later started with the state parading its first witness in the case.

However, while the witness was testifying, Mwakhwawa served the court with an injunction granted by High Court judge Vikochi Chima.

The defense wants the High Court to review Kayira’s decision on the application for the 30-day adjournment.

After being served with the injunction, Kayira adjourned the matter indefinitely.

The five Mapeto DWS officials being prosecuted are director Faizal Gaffar Latif, managing director Muhammed Gaffar, financial controller Abdul Rashid Bakali, procurement manager Yaseen Muhammad and general manager Martin Mpata.

They were arrested in May after Malawi Revenue Authority found that the company was selling its products, but not fully declaring the sales to MRA which had a direct and negative impact on the revenues the company was remitting to MRA with regards to Value Added Tax as well as income tax.